How to Respond to Employee Activism

Many employees want to do meaningful work and they want their employer to either support or align with their values and identities.  When that doesn’t happen, employees generally have three choices: leave the organization, try to bring change within the organization, or just shut up and deal with it.  The last option is probably the worst  for the employer because it leads to lowered employee engagement. I recommend providing a relief valve that allows for employees to express themselves when they rise up against a decision or organize themselves to advocate for… Read More

Needs Assessment as a Learning Tool: Three Findings

Needs assessment can be used to determine what factors are causing a problem. Can it also be used to improve organizational learning? With my colleague, Dr. Denise Cumberland, I was involved in a project that sought to understand if needs assessment could be used as an organizational learning tool, in addition to identifying causes of a problem.  We worked with a Fortune 200 quick service restaurant chain and their “broken” new product development process.  Data were gathered from multiple stakeholder groups using interviews and a survey questionnaire. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design,… Read More

Organizational Change in Franchises through Advisory Boards

How do franchise organizations build momentum around change and an atmosphere of trust with their advisory boards? With my colleague and former doctoral student, Dr. Denise Cumberland, we published an article presenting a framework for these boards. Basically, the model considers the competing emphases affecting the franchisor–franchisee relationship and the roles for human resources and organization development (HROD) professionals.

Online Learning & Centralization of Commuity College Systems

Workforce development training is an important part of the mission of community colleges.  Increasingly, students need and expect online courses to be an option for some or all of their programs.  I conducted a study looking at why some community and technical colleges offer more online programs than others.  Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design, and strategy through his consulting work and as a professor at University of the Pacific.  He helps leaders get results through using innovation and creativity processes, strategy development and strategic planning, group facilitation and action planning, and… Read More

Professors’ Impact on the Real World

For many professors in leadership and organization studies-related fields,  a big part of our job is thinking seriously about how organizational leaders can address the world’s problems and opportunities. However, it’s fair to say that the for a good number of professors, the extent of their real world impact doesn’t go beyond an indirect impact through their teaching. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design, and strategy through his consulting work and as a professor at University of the Pacific.  He helps leaders get results through using innovation and creativity processes, strategy development… Read More

Four Lessons from The Toughest Leadership Job(s)

Where is it hardest to be a leader?  A major company attempting a comeback… a huge conglomerate like General Electric…leading major government agencies?  In an article in Forbes, Rob Ashgar claims that the toughest leadership job isn’t being head of one of America’s major companies, but rather being the president of a major university. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design, and strategy through his consulting work and as a professor at University of the Pacific.  He helps leaders get results through using innovation and creativity processes, strategy development and strategic planning, group… Read More

Eight Areas to Rethink in U.S. Higher Education

I just finished reading The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out, written by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring (2011).  Christensen is the noted expert on innovation from Harvard Business School. The basic premise of the book is that higher institutions education in the U.S. have attempted to emulate the model of Harvard, with several distinctive and very expensive features.  Colleges and universities have developed cost models that are unsustainable and most need to re-evaluate their practice and consider adoption of new models in order to be… Read More

Google’s Re-imagining of the Workplace

Most of us have heard about Google’s generous employee benefits…gym memberships, free gourmet food, bowling alleys at work, nap rooms, etc.  However, it’s not just all of those perks that have resulted in the company creating one of the best places to work in the world.  It’s in Google’s DNA to create work environments that foster freedom, flexibility, and employee voice.   Google has taken thrown out many traditional assumptions about management/supervision and HR practices. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design, and strategy through his consulting work and as a professor at University… Read More

Employee-Initiated Organization Development

Organization development and change doesn’t always start with formal organizational leaders.  As part of a larger study, I looked at how organizational members can seek change by working together to bring policy changes in their organization.  In the case study, I examined a nearly 20-year effort by employees in the University of Illinois System to attain domestic partner benefits. Throughout the effort, the group of employees used different “social organizing strategies.”  In other words, they brought people together using different organization methods differing goals, and differing motivations. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation,… Read More

How to Approach Diversity-related Change?

In workplaces, community groups, and other settings, we oftentimes seek to make things better for people from diverse backgrounds.  Sometimes we will benefit directly from those changes and sometimes we’re working with others to attain changes that will benefit society or an organization in general. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design, and strategy through his consulting work and as a professor at University of the Pacific.  He helps leaders get results through using innovation and creativity processes, strategy development and strategic planning, group facilitation and action planning, and program and initiative development. … Read More